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Buhari believes in Abiola’s mandate ― Gov Abiodun

Following the declaration of June 12 as Democracy Day by President Muhammadu Buhari in honour of late MKO Abiola, Ogun State Governor, Dapo Abiodun, has affirmed that the President believes in the mandate of the acclaimed winner of 1993 annulled a presidential election.

Speaking to State House correspondents after a meeting with the President in Abuja on Wednesday, the Governor pointed out that the recognition Buhari has so far given to the memory of Abiola, an indigene of Ogun, was without prompting.

He said he was at the presidential villa to pay a “thank you” visit on the President for declaring June 12 a national holiday and renaming the Abuja national stadium as MKO Abiola Stadium.

The late Ogun-born politician died in detention in 1997 while trying to actualize his mandate in the election annulled by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida.

The governor said: “I felt I should personally come on behalf of the good people of Ogun State for pronouncing June 12 Democracy Day; and recognizing that indeed, is MKO Abiola is a uniting factor in the political history of Nigeria.

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“MKO Abiola was someone who won an election, ran a Muslim-Muslim ticket, meaning that he demystified the issue of religion and that would have been a turning point in the history of Nigeria.

“So ‘Baba’ recognized that and he firmly believed in Abiola’s mandate and he didn’t have to be convinced. It was something he believed in and he keyed into and he felt that Abiola would have been a very good president.

“I thanked him for naming the stadium after him as well, which was unexpected. He said he didn’t even share with anyone, it was something he wanted to do, to underscore the fact that Abiola was indeed, a great man.”

He said he met with Buhari to share with him his vision for the development of Ogun State, which according to him, is to provide good and qualitative governance for the people while creating an enabling environment for a public/private sector partnership that is fundamental to economic growth and prosperity.

He added: “Our mantra is building together. Our vision starts with what we called an enabler factors top of which is good governance factor. We believe that nothing can be achieved unless you are committed to good governance. And good governance starts with paying salaries.

“I was sworn in on the 29th of May and the 30th was my first day in the office and my second day in office I realized that salary was due and we didn’t have money to pay. However, that day we ensured that salaries were paid.

“It was important for that message to be sent because that was the pact we had with the people of the state. There is something called ‘the speed of trust’. The citizens have to begin to trust you and you have to earn that trust equally.

“The second item on our enabler is security. Ogun state is called gateway for a reason, we are the gateway to Lagos, Oyo, Ondo, Cotonou, to so many other places. So it is important that for us to create an enabling environment for the investment we must have a secured state.

“I and the governor of Lagos state we have discussed, we are going to ensure we have a robust security trust fund so that we can have patrol vehicles along the connecting roads, tracking devices, communications equipment.

“This is because we want to take advantage of what we call the pull factor. Today, Ogun state has the largest industrial hub in the country but there are there because Ogun is close to Lagos. So all these I shared with Mr President.

“But top on the list is agriculture, we are placing a premium on agriculture. We see it as an opportunity to directly impact people’s lives and so we are tapping into CBN’s anchor borrowers programme.”

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